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For every new parent there is that heart-wrenching moment when you realize you have to return to work and leave your precious little one with a sitter. If you are lucky, that person is a relative or close friend whom you know, without a doubt, that you can trust with your child s life, safety and well-being. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. You may find yourself forced to decide between placing your child in daycare and hiring a nanny to watch your child in your home. If you choose the in-home option, it may be time to look at nanny cams.

Nanny cams are small, portable and often hidden cameras used to record the interactions of a nanny or babysitter and your child. They can be shaped like an ordinary object such as a teddy bear, alarm clock or electrical outlet, allowing you to place them in plain view without being obvious. These cameras have been involved in the arrest and prosecutions of several childcare providers in recent years after those providers were recorded abusing their charges. Nanny cams are also gaining popularity in care situations such as nursing homes, physical rehabilitation centers and in-home elder care.

Legally, using nanny cams is well within the rights of a parent or homeowner as long as the recording includes only video. Audio recording is subject to the wiretapping and eavesdropping laws that vary from state to state. Before choosing a nanny cam with audio capability, be sure to check the laws in your state.

Many nanny cams are wireless and can transmit their signals up to a quarter-mile from their base. This signal is not usually scrambled, meaning that anyone with the equipment and know-how can use your nanny cam to spy on you and your home. Instead of protecting your family, nanny cams can make you more vulnerable by revealing when you are and are not at home and what valuables might be within easy reach for a thief. There are currently no laws prohibiting the access of this wireless signal, and prosecution for intercepting it is unlikely.

Finally, if you must leave your children to return to work, decide to hire an in-home nanny and decide to use nanny cams, you must decide if you want to inform the nanny. You do not have to disclose the use of a recording-only camera, but the relationship you build with your nanny might be irreparably harmed if you do not mention the camera and the nanny finds out about it later. Many parents choose to use nanny cams as a way of keeping up with their child s day and not missing out on special moments.

By making the nanny aware of the camera, not only will he or she behave accordingly, but the nanny might be inclined to actively engage your child with the camera so you have those special moments to remember. If, during the hiring process, the nanny you are contemplating hiring has a problem with the camera, perhaps you are better off choosing someone else.

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